Easy dinner recipes: Great pasta dishes in only 25 minutes

Easy dinner recipes: Great pasta dishes in only 25 minutes
Pasta with Italian sausage and broccoli. (Ifran Kahn / Los Angeles Times)

If you're looking for a fast yet filling dish, pasta is always a great option. The noodles act as a blank canvas, ready to work with almost any flavor combinations you wish to add, whether rich sausage and broccoli, fresh herbs or a creamy sauce studded with bits of cheese. Use these recipes as inspiration and create your own dish.

Pasta with Italian sausage and broccoli: This recipe, from Food editor Russ Parsons, is a simple combination of broccoli, fresh Italian sausage and dried pasta. Serve with a shaving of pecorino Romano.
Angel hair pasta with fresh shiso-herb mix: A wonderfully aromatic herb with a bit of a bite, shiso is part of the mint and basil family. For a bright and simple dish, pair shiso with fresh lemon zest, parsley, chives and basil and toss with angel hair pasta. Serve the dish on its own for a vegetarian option, or top with a grilled fillet of salmon or other fish.

Pennette with pistachios and Gorgonzola: Get a pot of water going on the stove and cook the pasta. While it's cooking, throw together a quick cream sauce with leeks and chunks of Gorgonzola cheese. Toss in coarsely chopped pistachios for extra crunch and color, and toss with the pasta. The whole dish comes together in minutes. You can find the recipe below.



Total time: 25 minutes | Serves 8

Coarse sea salt

3/4 pound pennette pasta

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 leeks, white part only, washed well and very thinly sliced

3/4 cup heavy cream

6 ounces Gorgonzola, cut into pieces

1/2 cup shelled salted pistachios, coarsely chopped

Freshly ground white pepper

Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Cook the pennette according to the package directions until al dente.

2. While the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and a dash of sea salt and cook, stirring, until very soft, about 4 minutes. Add the cream and heat to a simmer.

3. Drain the cooked pasta well in a colander and immediately turn it out into the skillet with the leek mixture. Add the Gorgonzola and toss until coated. Add the pistachios and salt and pepper to taste. Continue stirring until well mixed. Serve at once, with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, if desired.

Each serving: 386 calories; 13 grams protein; 38 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 21 grams fat; 11 grams saturated fat; 59 mg. cholesterol; 261 mg. sodium.

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